Albert Ballin (15 August 1857 – 9 November 1918) was a German shipping magnate. He was the general director of the Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) or Hamburg-America Line, which for a time was the world's largest shipping company. Being the inventor of the concept of the cruise ship, he is known as the father of modern cruise ship travel. Albert Ballin was a risk-taker who was willing to challenge his colleagues, foreign competitors, and domestic politics in order to build a successful shipping company. He focused on British rivals and was determined to expand HAPAG's global reach. A Jew, he nevertheless worked closely with the Kaiser and supported expansion of the German navy.
The SS Augusta Victoria, named after the German Empress Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, was the first modern cruise ship in the world. She set sail on 10 May 1889, from Hamburg to New York City via Southampton. Two years later, she went on the world's first Mediterranean c